There’s a new way to get around in downtown Greenville — a six-seat solar- and electric-powered shuttle.

Main Street Shuttle has been in operation for about a month and provides free shuttle service from downtown on Main Street between the Hyatt Regency and Fluor Field and side streets between Church and Academy.

Frank Cyrill and Sandra Dawson operate the shuttle, which they say will expand dining and entertainment options for people who live or visit downtown Greenville as well as ease traffic congestion and parking concerns.

Cyrill, who lives in the West End, said he has talked to residents of the West End who don’t venture to the northern end of Main Street to eat or shop because they don’t want to walk that far and they don’t want to have to get their cars out. Likewise, Dawson said she’s shuttled people who work at the Hyatt to lunch at a West End restaurant, an option they didn’t take advantage of before. “Nobody walks that far,” she said.

One reason, Cyrill said, is because while downtown Greenville looks relatively flat, there’s a lot more grade that people think there is. “There are a lot of hills,” he said. In fact, the Main Street Shuttle was custom-made by a manufacturer in Florida to be able to handle the grade, he said.

Right now, the shuttle runs from 11:30 a.m. until about 2:30 p.m. and again from about 3:30 p.m. until about 6 p.m. Dawson said the company is looking to hire drivers to expand the hours, especially in the evenings to serve the dinner crowd.

In a year, Cyrill said he could see the company running five shuttles. “Greenville is growing dramatically. The number of people visiting downtown has never been higher,” Cyrill said. “I remember when Carolina Ale House was the center of town. But the center of town keeps moving west.”

Dawson said the shuttle could allow tourists to explore more of downtown and the West End. And, she said, during their ride, she can tell them about the city and suggest places to eat and shop based on their likes and dislikes.

Rides on the shuttle are free, but tipping the driver is recommended. Cyrill said ridership is increasing.

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